How Are Foodborne Pathogens Transmitted?

How Are Foodborne Pathogens Transmitted

How Are Foodborne Pathogens Transmitted

Foodborne pathogens are organisms that cause food poisoning. The most common foodborne pathogens are bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which contaminate food directly on the food or the hands of someone who prepares or serves it.

These pathogens can also be passed from one person to another by handling contaminated food or utensils or by using contaminated cutting boards and other kitchen surfaces.

Foodborne Pathogens

What Are They and How Do They Get Into Food; The most common way of transmitting a foodborne pathogen is by ingesting contaminated food.

You’re susceptible to becoming ill when bacteria or viruses get into your digestive tract. However, how these contaminants spread depends on the organism to blame for making you sick.

To understand more about how transmission occurs, let’s look at some of them. Reptiles can carry salmonella. Raw eggs can also carry salmonella, but cooking them will kill any dangerous bacteria.

So when reptiles such as turtles lay their eggs in an eggshell, salmonella is always present if it hasn’t been cooked thoroughly enough.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

While most people associate food poisoning with Salmonella or E. coli, many different types of bacterial and viral infections cause similar symptoms.

Suppose you’re concerned about a potential outbreak. In that case, it’s essential to understand how each of these organisms is transmitted and whether your circumstances put you at greater risk for contracting a specific infection.

For example, suppose you have a weakened immune system due to chemotherapy treatments or chronic illnesses like diabetes. In that case, you may be more susceptible to certain strains of bacteria than someone who has a healthy immune system.

To determine what type of pathogen may be responsible for your illness (or someone else’s), consider all possible transmission routes before ruling anything out. 

Why Does a Person Have to Eat So Much Contaminated Food?

Most cases of food poisoning occur when a person eats just a small amount of contaminated food or water. That’s because certain types of bacteria, such as Shigella and E. coli O157:H7, need only small amounts of feces to cause illness.

So even if you wash your hands well after using the bathroom, they may not be clean enough to prevent you from getting sick from contaminated foods and liquids.

In addition, some germs can grow on foods at room temperature over several hours. This can happen quickly when an open package is left on your kitchen counter for more than two hours without refrigeration.

It’s also essential to remember that there is no safe way to tell whether meat or poultry has spoiled by looking at it. The only way to know if the core has broken is by smelling it (foul) or tasting it (worse). If in doubt, throw it out!

Why Not All Contaminated Foods Cause Disease?

Some people become sick, and others do not. You have to ingest a pathogen for it to cause disease. But there are many cases of foodborne illness where individuals who consumed contaminated foods did not get sick.

Why is that; There’s no one reason but in general. it boils down to three factors: virulence immune status


Virulence refers to how infectious an organism is in other words, what percentage of people who come into contact with a pathogen will become ill after exposure; The more contagious it is (or high its virulence), the more likely you will get sick.

What Are the Types of Food Poisoning?

There are three main types of food poisoning: bacterial, viral, and parasitic. A different organism causes each class. For example, Campylobacter infections (caused by bacteria) usually result in bloody diarrhea and nausea.

Salmonella infections (caused by bacteria) result in fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. Viruses like norovirus result in vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

Parasites like tapeworms can invade your digestive tract if you eat raw or undercooked meat that contains tapeworm eggs or larvae. Many people with food poisoning don’t have any symptoms at all.

This is especially true for children and older adults, who may be more likely to have milder cases of food poisoning because their immune systems aren’t as strong as those of younger people.

While most cases of food poisoning resolve independently without treatment, you must see a doctor if you suspect you have food poisoning. Your doctor will run tests to identify what kind of infection you have and prescribe antibiotics if necessary.

The sooner you get medical attention after eating contaminated food, the better off you will be. In some instances, doctors recommend taking over-the-counter medications such as Imodium A-D or Pepto Bismol to help control symptoms until they pass on their own.

How Does One Prevent Infection from Toxins?

Good hand washing and sanitizing techniques prevent illness from foodborne contaminants. This can be as simple as holding hands under running water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling foods to disinfect them.

Be sure to wash your hands after using common bathroom facilities, like sinks, toilets, or shared towel dispensers. To reduce exposure risk, avoid eating raw foods (vegetables, fruits, and meats) that could have been contaminated with germs from counters or other surfaces you touch frequently.

To prevent contamination from an outside source, some people use their utensils when dining out by carrying plastic forks or spoons in a small baggie while on the go.

If you do decide to dine out, be sure to ask if there is a chance of cross-contamination between items on your plate and if so, politely request separate cooking equipment be used.

Always check expiration dates when purchasing food products and throw away any foods that may have gone bad. If possible, buy fresh produce from local farmers’ markets where it is more likely to be sold locally than shipped across state lines.


Bacteria and other microorganisms, commonly called germs, can contaminate food in many ways. For example, when sick employees go to work and handle food items, bacteria on their hands can spread to the foods they prepare.

Another example is improper cleaning of equipment that touches raw meat or other unsanitary foods; a germ-covered towel could quickly transfer harmful microbes to your produce. Pathogens may also enter foods through physical means. When a tomato falls into a pool of dirt, it picks up bacteria that get ground into its skin when you eat it. In addition, insects can carry disease-causing organisms from one surface or object to another.